With every incredible government disaster comes a new commission. The colossal failure of intelligence agencies to coordinate and work together to prevent 9/11 led to the famous 9/11 Commission. That brain-trust churned out a best selling book along with 41 recommendations to prevent the next terrorist attack on American soil. The panel, consisting of politicians, lawyers, and educators, made commissions quite sexy.
Next up was the commission to study the botched Hurricane Katrina response that killed over 700 people in New Orleans. They were tasked after Americans spent billions of dollars propping up the "Department of Homeland Security", designed in-part to respond to disasters, only to watch it do...nothing while people died across the south.
Michael Brown and Michael Chertoff became household names, President Bush's ratings tumbled even further, and a commission was formed to answer the question: what the hell was that all about?
And now we have the Baker-Hamilton Commission, also known as the Iraq Study Group. This thing is, by all accounts, the greatest...Commission...ever! It is a constellation of luminaries including two former secretaries of state (James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger), a former Supreme Court Justice (Sandra Day O'Connor), a former attorney general (Edwin Mease III), a former Secretary of Defense (William Perry), a former White House chief of staff (Leon Panetta), along with a business executive, a former senator, and a former governor.
This, the greatest commission, has been ushered in to fix the greatest problem invented by the stupidest president in history. This, my friends, is what a twisted use of politics has wrought: the Bush / Cheney War in Iraq, which has become an unmitigated disaster responsible for the deaths of over 600,000 Iraqi civilians, and almost 3,000 U.S. troops. This, from the minds of neoconservatives, well-wishers, and true believers has brought you the war that Iran now uses to position itself, and terrorists use as a rallying cry.
In light of all of this, if I may be so bold, I would like to put forward a dramatic proposal: let the commission take over the White House. Hell, let's throw in the legislative branch for free.
First of all, there is absolutely no need for the middle man at this point. Why even bother going to Congress or the White House first just so they can play politics and psychological warfare on the American people while the country goes to hell? My god, how tiring was the 2006 election? If you cared it was exhausting. And many, seriously, don't even care. Yay! During such tumultuous and timorous times 40% of the voting public peeled themselves off the couch to go vote.
Voting has netted us disaster upon disaster. And by that I mean people preying on other people's weaknesses to generate votes so they can go Washington as "representatives" and let this country to go hell.
I say we cut out the fat. I say we lower our overhead. What we need is a factory-direct form of government. If these idiots are going to screw things up and assign the problems to commissions, why not just go to the commissions directly? We are essentially electing the commissions anyway. Let's eliminate the fat salaries and careers in the middle.
Second, giving the power to the commissions leaves a better chance that the commissions's recommendations will actually be implemented. On December 5, 2005, the 9/11 Commission issued a "report card" review of how well the government was implementing their 41 recommendations. The government's average grade calculates to about a D+. We don't need that. They assembled the panel, the panel is full of smart people, we all read their findings. But what did the government do with their information? They filed it somewhere.
I guess my question is, if we have access to such wondrous panels, people who can probe extremely complex matters and issue recommendations, solutions, lists, and report cards then why don't we ask these people before we're about to do something stupid? Before we face a major decision. We know what those issues are most of the time before they even happen.
You'd think Bush, maybe, I dunno, just maybe, could have plumbed the depth of this pool of knowledge before he invaded Iraq. I'm not saying he should have formed an entire panel to study the idea, but maybe he could have ASKED HIS OWN FATHER about war in Iraq?!? Hello, you idiot? Maybe he could have said, "I'd like to have lunch with James Baker, he's pretty smart..." or, "That guy, Colin Powell, he's been there before, I wonder what he thinks?"
The Iraq Study Group will give their advice but the missing ingredient in this whole thing is judgment. What do these panel members have that our president and his cronies lack? Judgment. They also have very little incentive to produce results that are politically expedient. I'd love to just hand control over to a group like that. How do we secure the country? How can we form a better disaster relief agency? What should we do in Iraq? I'd love to ask them also how can we fight poverty? What should we do about health insurance? I certainly don't trust those issues to George W. Bush, do you? The entire country is anxious to hear the panel's advice on Iraq, and Bush's ratings are at 30%? That says something.
Government by commissions isn't my idea. Aristotle felt that government should be led by those people with enough time on their hands to pursue virtue. That sounds a lot like the retirees in the Iraq Study Group. Plato also gave this some thought and concluded that Democracy lends itself to power-seeking individuals motivated by personal gain rather than public good. Sound familiar? To Plato the best form of government was a philosophical aristocracy, which is the make-up of these commissions.
Condemn me as a Democracy hater if you must, but consider how our own elected leaders turn to the commissions for salvation. You vote them in, they eventually have to task a commission to figure out how they damaged things to badly. I propose the next time you screw up royally on-the-job you promise, only after getting caught, that you will form a commission to see exactly where you went wrong. See how long it takes before your boss makes sure security ushers you out with a box under your arm. Let's all try it, now. It's fun!